Multi-presidential election held in Egypt; Mubarak expected to win
Egyptians voted on Wednesday in the country's first ever multi-presidential election. Longtime leader President Hosni Mubarak is almost certain to win.
Egypt said the decision to allow competitors to run against Mubarak signals a move toward greater democracy in a country. Opponents, however, have dismissed claims of reforms.
According to The AP, nine candidates are running against the president, but only two are considered significant, Ayman Nour of the al-Ghad Party and Noaman Gomaa of the New Wafd Party. Other candidates are Refaat Al-Agroudy, Accord Party; Ahmed Al-Sabahi, Ummah Party; Osama Shaltout, Solidarity Party; Fawzi Ghazal, Egypt 2000 Party and Mamdouh Al Qenawi, Ibrahim Tork, Wahid Al Uksory.
Mubarak cast his ballot in a school close to the presidential palace, accompanied by his wife and son Gamal.
During the day, charges of fraud were raised by opposition party members. They said that in one incident election workers inside polls in Luxor instructed voters to choose Mubarak. In Alexandria, workers for the ruling National Democratic Party promised food to those who cast a ballot, voters said.
Hours before voting commenced, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif warned that demonstrations were banned for election day. Despite this, more than 3,000 people marched through downtown Cairo at midafternoon. The rally was arranged by the opposition movement Kifaya. The demonstrators protested "corruption and oppression" and the continuation of Mubarak's rule.
Some 32.5 million Egyptians were registered to cast ballots Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The election commission said counting could take up to three days and final results would not be declared until Saturday.